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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have 3 standard light fixtures outside and want convert them into dusk to dawn. One is working on installing a new black photosensor but the rest two are not.

Black is connected to black and the same for white also. Red also same. There is one wire from the fixture is unconnected. Should that be connected to red?



Here is the pic of the one that is not working. Can you please help what's wrong here?
 

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Looks to me that your sensor red is connected to the ground (bare) wire.

The connections minus the sensor should be cable white (neutral return) to fixture white, cable black (hot power) to fixture black and ground (bare) to ground.

The sensor should be interrupting the black (hot power) so maybe there's your problem.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you Chuck. Sorry, I did not completely understand the answer. Are you saying the red should be connected to fixture bare wire which is not connected at this time?
 

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Let's start with safety grounds.

SAFETY GROUND = a safety shield on which electricity never flows (except during faults). Standard wire colors are

  • Bare wire
  • Green
  • Yellow w/ green stripe

All safety ground wires always connect to each other and metal junction boxes, and never to any other wire. Attaching a red wire to grounds = "I need to learn more stuff before doing anything more with electrical".



NEUTRAL = I think you know about. Neutral is white or gray, but sometimes white wires can be hot. 3-way switch circuits are especially weird.



HOT = You have 2 kinds of hot running around in that box: always-hot (hot when the Russians haven't blown the power plant), and switched-hot (hot when you want the light to be on). Like any switch, the day-night sensor connects to always-hot and switched-hot.

Standard color for always-hot = any color except green, white or gray.
Standard color for switched-hot = any color except green, white or gray.

You're right - that's not much help, but electrical is NOT novice-friendly.
 

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The black power goes to the black of the photo cell. The red of the photo cell goes to the black of the fixture.
Grounds and whites connect to each other
Close, but not quite right.

The white from the Romex goes to the white of the fixture and the white of the photo sensor.

The ground from the Romex goes to the ground of the fixture and should also be attached to the box.

The grounds and neutrals should not be connected together.

They both have their intended purposes.
 

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The white from the Romex goes to the white of the fixture and the white of the photo sensor.

The ground from the Romex goes to the ground of the fixture and should also be attached to the box.
and, the Red from the "Sensor" goes to the Black of the Lamp (fixture)
with the Black of the "Line" going to the Black of the "Sensor".

Apart from the "Grounds", the wiring should be as shown in the following diagram.
Rectangle Slope Font Parallel Circle

The way in which you have this wired the "Switched Line" (Red) will be connected to "Ground" when the "sensor" operates, which could (should) destroy the sensor and/or trip the breaker.

If you have "tested" this I fined it hard to understand why that has not already occurred !
 

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If you have power and a good bulb the issue is the photocell.
 

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I am only seeing a single cable in each box. Where do the 2 cables come from?
 

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Power is there and bulbs are good. So you if say the connections are right, I can grab a new photocell. But both the fixtures are not working.

Any other troubleshooting ideas?
If both sensors were wired as shown in your original post, with the red wire to the bare ground wire, the sensors were probably damaged.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The connections are as follows:
1. All three whites together - Mainpower line, light fixture and sensor
2. Light fixture black and sensor red are connected together
3. Sensor black and mainpower line black is connected together
4. Light fixture barewire and mainpower barewire is connected together.

Does this sound good?
 

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That sounds correct.
As test, if you remove the fixture black from the red and connect it with the other blacks the lights should come on. If they do, then I would say the sensor is bad if the lights don't come on when the sensor is covered. They may not come instantly. There could be some delay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Just to make sure I understand to test the sensor, you want me to do this, right?

Connect light fixer black with the mainpower black

I believe the rest of the connections will stay as it is.

If light comes on, then the sensor is bad, Is that right?
 

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Just to make sure I understand to test the sensor, you want me to do this, right?

Connect light fixer black with the mainpower black

I believe the rest of the connections will stay as it is.

If light comes on, then the sensor is bad, Is that right?
Assuming you have the white from the fixture connected to the white from the main power cable, yes, if the fixture and bulb are good, and you have power to the fixture, it should come on. If it does, then you connect the fixture black to the sensor red and the main power black to the sensor black (of course, all whites connected together, and all grounds connected together and to a metal part of the fixture as outlined above), cover the photocell (may need to cover it for 30 seconds or so), or wait until dark. If the light doesn't come on, the light sensor is likely blown.

Edit: I see the light came on, so yeah, you likely blew the sensor unit by shorting it ground when you connected the red to ground (bare wire).
 
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